Understanding less-educated citizens’ (non-)participation in citizens’ initiatives: Feelings of entitlement and a taste for politics

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This article provides better understanding of less-educated citizens’ underrepresentation in citizens’ initiatives. Based on in-depth interviews with less-educated citizens in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the study discerned that the concepts of ‘feelings of entitlement’ and a ‘taste for politics’ are crucial for understanding their (non-)participation. The study uncovered that sub-dimensions of these concepts occur in different combinations, yielding four ideal types of (non-)participation: retreating non-participation, rebellious participation, potentially cooperating participation and pragmatic non-participation. In addition to well-known explanations as lack of time, money, social capital and political knowledge, the findings underline the fruitfulness of an approach that enables to uncover citizens’ perspectives for understanding their (non-)participation in citizens’ initiatives. Contrary to conventional understanding, this research also shows that a lack of feelings of entitlement does not necessarily inspire a distaste for politics, and that distaste for politics stimulates non-participation for some, while it inspires others to become politically active.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Sociology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Vidi grants awarded to Willem de Koster and Jeroen van der Waal by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) (Grant Nos. 016.Vidi.185.207 and 452-17-009).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

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